It has been one year since the MSD shooting. We all know the toll it took on everyone and the damage left behind. We have also seen and heard the countless debates and protests both for and against gun control. A multitude of articles have been written for both sides, as well as methods of coping with the trauma from these horrific events. But what are some of the organizations that have emerged since then that give people a way to cope, to fight, and to carry on the message of NEVER AGAIN!
I’ve written articles on FAMSVARPAC (The Journey of a Thousand Miles, Nov. 2018) and a documentary video about Parkland (Bridging the Great Divide, Dec. 2018). But besides these two, who and/or what groups have come forward to help those in need, or to fight against these shootings in the future? While the list isn’t complete, it is a step in the right direction. In no particular order, we have:
PU4P Professionals United 4 Parkland. This is a group of highly qualified mental health professionals who provide many different forms of treatment for traumas such as those experienced by the shooting at MSD. Here is a link for the website: www.pu4p.org
CTR Change the Ref is an organization whose primary goal is to educate the newer generation of young people on how to best use what’s available to them to have their voices heard on the issues at hand. Manuel and Patricia Oliver whose son Joaquin, was one of the victims of the MSD shooting formed this group. The link to the website is www.changetheref.org.
Mobilizing MSD Alumni This is a national organization with more than 11,000 members, founded to help those involved in the MSD shooting. They have Outreach, Advocacy, and Community programs designed to cover all aspects of those in need. Their website is www.msdstrongalum.com.
These are a few local groups that have been formed not only to carry on the fight for better gun control and school safety but also to help those in need mentally, physically and spiritually. There are several national groups, such as DC Local Ambassadors (www.dcambs.org) founded by D.C. lawyer Elizabeth Andrews, Move On (www.front.moveon) and Everytown for Gun Safety (www.everytown.org) in case you feel the need to do more on a national level. But, as I have stated before, one of the best things we can all do, is be aware of those that surround our families, our friends, and us. Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions if you feel there is something not quite right. Encourage others to freely express themselves about their issues concerning these tragedies, regardless if they were directly involved. Last, but not least… don’t just depend on these and other organizations to get the job done concerning the political aspects of gun control and school safety. Write letters, make phone calls to your local, state, and federal officials and let them know your concerns and feelings. One voice, one vote alone may not make a difference but all of them together are a force not to be denied.